Raymond Allen Davis: Feds asked 9News not to mention CIA link in Pakistan murder case
Update below: The story of Raymond Allen Davis, the Highlands Ranch man accused of murder in Pakistan, has made international news due to the U.S. government's claim of immunity on his behalf. We now know Davis is a CIA security contractor -- a story initially broken by 9News, although the station later removed a reference from its website. Was this action taken at the feds' request?
An Associated Press report published Monday confirms the CIA connection -- and it also includes this interesting passage:
Davis and his wife run a Las Vegas-registered company called Hyperion Protective Services. The address for its headquarters is a mailbox at a UPS store in a strip mall. The truth about Davis' true employer briefly slipped out after a local television reporter in Colorado called his wife.
In a story posted on the website of Denver's 9News, the wife provided the name and number of a "CIA spokesperson" in Washington, D.C. But the story was quickly taken down, edited and then reposted with new language eliminating any reference to the CIA.
The Denver outlet wasn't alone in tacking such a tack in relation to the Davis matter, as noted in this Yahoo! News post by Michael Calderone. It begins like so:
The New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press reported Monday that Raymond Davis -- an American who shot two men in Pakistan last month -- was working for the CIA at the time. And while reporting that news, all three outlets revealed something else: They had been holding back that information at the U.S. government's request.
But the government dropped its request after a British paper broke the news a day earlier. That meant the lead editors at U.S. news organizations could go forward with their own Davis stories.
Did 9News receive a similar call? Thus far, interview requests left over the past two days for 9News director Patti Dennis, as well as one focusing on assistant news director Tim Ryan, have not been returned at this writing. When and if they are, this post will be updated. In the meantime, we clearly have the Brits to thank for this added bit of Davis info.
Update, 1:08 p.m.: Just received a call from 9News assistant news director Tim Ryan, speaking on behalf of news director Patti Dennis, who he says is currently out of town. He points out that the station divulged a government request to remove the aforementioned information in the middle portion of this report. The key passage:
The U.S. State Department and CIA contacted 9NEWS the next day and expressed concern that the information further endangered Davis' life.
9NEWS declined requests by the State Department and CIA to remove the story in its entirety from this website, but did, in light of the danger to Davis' life, remove the reference to the CIA and replaced it with a reference to the U.S. government, satisfying the concern of the government officials.
Dennis also issued the following statement about the incident:
9NEWS first reported on Raymond Davis and his Colorado connection on February 2, 2011. At that time our investigation tied Raymond Davis to Highlands Ranch, Colorado and to a phone number given to us by his wife that lead [sic] back to the C.I.A. While no one confirmed Davis' ties to the C.I.A., we simply reported what we had confirmed about his residence and what his wife told us when we contacted her during our investigation. Less than 12 hours after our reports on air and online, the C.I.A. and the U.S. State Department were calling 9News asking us to remove our web story for concerns that we were putting Raymond Davis' life in jeopardy. We declined to remove the story because it was important international news that tied back to Colorado. However, after long meetings with our editorial team we weighed the prospect of reporting that would put an American citizen's life in jeopardy against the transparency we adhere to in every single story we report. We had to think about the real possibility that if we put Raymond Davis' life in deeper peril, we could be blamed for any action the Pakistani government took toward him. Given the life threatening situation Davis is in 9News decided it would be best to change the wording in our story to indicate that Raymond Davis worked for the U.S. government without specifying the connection to the C.I.A.
More from our Media archive: "Sh*t off my back story definite highlight of 9News broadcast (PHOTO)."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.